FLORENCE, KY – The 3-year-old debut for Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Naughty Joker could not have gone much better when the Wesley Ward trainee drew off steadily in Saturday’s Maxim Crane Works Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park.
Breaking from post 2 under Rafael Bejarano as the 2/1 favorite, Naughty Joker settled along the rail in midpack early while Fun Finder posted opening fractions of :24.25, :47.76, and 1:12.36. Tipping off the rail to make her move in the far turn, Naughty Joker emerged onto the front stretch with a head in front and began to steadily draw clear. Though Fun Finder fought back gamely along the rail, in the end, Naughty Joker proved to be too tough. The Wesley Ward trainee finished with a 1 3/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:40.08 for the mile-long event over the all weather track.
“My horse came away really beautifully from the gate,” said Bejarano, a former leading rider at Turfway Park who teamed up with Ward for three stakes wins on the day’s card. “I saw a couple of horses with speed, so I put her right behind them and got her comfortable. It is so easy to ride for these connections. The horses I ride for them have so much class.”
New Roo came running with a late rally and nearly took second, missing out by just a 1/2-length. Diva Day headed Unapologetic Me for fourth, while Into Trouble finished sixth. Malibu Party, Channel Princess, Birdie, Gold Credit, and Red Rounder completed the order of finish. Crafty’s Dream was scratched.
The Bourbonette Oaks is part of the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Naughty Joker earned 20 points for the win, with Fun Finder receiving 8 for second, New Roo 4 for third, and Diva Day 2 for fourth.
Naughty Joker’s win followed her maiden-breaking effort over a sloppy Churchill Downs main track last November and improved her overall record to 4-2-2-0. The daughter of Into Mischief has now earned $158,680 in her young career.
Naughty Joker returned $6 to win, $4 to place, and $4 to show. Fun Finder brought back $8.40 to place and $7.20 to show, while New Roo paid $10 to show.